Supporting dog owners experiencing homelessness or in housing crisis
Many dog owners experiencing homelessness must choose between a safe place to sleep and their dog. That’s because homelessness services don’t usually accept pets.
Through the Hope Project, we work to support dog owners so they can stay with their faithful friend. This includes our:
- veterinary scheme, which provides free veterinary treatment to dogs whose owners are experiencing homelessness or in housing crisis
- Welcoming Dogs scheme, which helps temporary accommodation providers become dog-friendly
- online directory of dog-friendly homelessness services in the UK
- Christmas parcel service, where we send out dog goodies to owners.
On this page:
Help and support for dog owners experiencing homelessness
We know that many people experiencing homelessness rely on their dogs for warmth, comfort and companionship.
That’s why we’re helping people in crisis stay together with their dogs. Part of that involves working with homelessness services, but we also directly help owners.
The Hope Project veterinary scheme is open to all dog owners experiencing homelessness or in housing crisis.
We cover the cost of all preventative treatments for your dog (neutering, microchipping, vaccinations, flea and worming treatments) as well as most other essential or emergency procedures.
The vet scheme runs in 115 towns and cities across the UK, through homelessness services.
If you need help with vet costs and aren’t in touch with a relevant service, you can refer yourself directly.
Guide to dog-friendly services
We also help dog owners by helping them to find dog-friendly homelessness services such as hostels across the UK.
Help and support for homelessness services
If you run, or work for, a homelessness service, we can help you support dog owners in a variety of ways.
Through our Welcoming Dogs scheme, we'll help you support residents and their pooches. It includes:
- help to create a bespoke pet policy and pet-owner agreement
- useful resources on referrals and risk assessments
- free vet care for any dog staying in the temporary accommodation
- a starter pack of items to welcome dogs (such as collars and leads, dog beds, bowls and enrichment toys)
- ongoing support from the team.
You can become a Welcoming Dogs endorsed service and we’ll add you to our online directory.
Help with veterinary costs
The Hope Project veterinary scheme is open to all dog owners experiencing homelessness or in housing crisis. It covers the cost of preventative treatments and most essential and emergency procedures for their dog.
If you’re a homelessness service provider, you can sign up to make online referrals to the scheme.
Hope at Christmas
The festive season can be a difficult and lonely time for people without a permanent home. That’s why every Christmas we send parcels of dog presents to owners and their faithful friends to provide some festive cheer.
In 2020 we sent out parcels containing collars, leads, coats, toys and treats to more than 230 homelessness organisations for 1,500 dogs and their owners. We know it makes a big difference to people and their pets.
“It has been lovely to receive parcels from the Hope Project at Christmas with food, a winter coat and other doggy treats," says Paul, Blake's owner. You can read their story below.
Please support us to bring Christmas cheer to even more dogs and their owners by donating today. If you’d prefer, you can buy an item from the Hope Project Amazon wish list and keep a homeless dog happy during the festive season.
Supporting dog owners and service providers during Covid-19
We’ve been supporting people and their dogs, as well as service providers, throughout the pandemic.
As part of the government's 'Everyone In' scheme, thousands of rough sleepers were moved to hotels to allow them to adhere to the guidance on self-isolation. Sadly, for dog owners, much of this emergency accommodation was not dog-friendly.
For many people, their dog is their main companion, so they’re unlikely to move into alternative accommodation if this means giving up their beloved pet.
We’ve adapted our Welcoming Dogs scheme to make sure we can provide ongoing support and guidance to hotels and homelessness services on accepting and managing dogs safely and responsibly.
We’ve supplied services with emergency dog food and essential items such as collars, leads, toys and bedding.
Meet some of the people and dogs we’ve helped
Louisa and Matilda
In 2020, Louisa lost her job and her accommodation because of the pandemic. Then her dog Matilda developed problems in her back legs and needed costly surgery. It was an expense that Louisa couldn’t afford.
Louisa looked for help for her and Matilda – there wasn't much available. Luckily, she discovered our Hope Project and gave us a call. We registered Matilda on our vet scheme so that she could access free vet care.
Louisa says: “Matilda’s always been there for me. She understands me, knows when I’m upset and comforts me when I need it. It’s such a burden off my shoulders to be able to rely on the Hope Project for her health. The project has been a massive help.”
Paul and Blake
Paul and his pooch Blake were staying in a dog-friendly hostel until the pandemic hit. Then they had to move into a hotel as part of the government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme. We’ve been supporting the pair through our vet scheme and Christmas parcels.
Paul says: “I have found living in the hotel room very difficult and isolating. I genuinely don’t think I would have been able to cope without Blake. He is the only constant in my life – he’s my best friend and he perks me up every day. I don’t get lonely because I have him.
“It’s a huge relief knowing that if Blake gets ill, I won’t need to worry about paying the bills. I wouldn’t be able to afford it without you! It’s also been lovely to receive parcels with food, a winter coat and other dog treats.”